«In June 1929, Le Corbusier travels to Moscow for the second time. During the train trip, he devotes a brief text to the Czech architect Karel Teige, titled “In defense of architecture”, in which he explains his bewilderment for the favour granted by the Neue Sachlichkeit to his functionalist project for the Centrosoyuz; Meanwhile, the contemporary Mundaneum pyramid is judged academicist. The master’s closest collaborators are not unfamiliar with the controversy: “Mundaneum and Centrosoyuz both came out from our heads in the same month of June”.
Essentially, the controversy doesn’t make much sense for Le Corbusier, as from one single point of view – that of the author of both projects -, each one of both, instead of opposing the other, is showing a close coherence: “In 1928, The Palace of Centrosoyuz in Moscow […]. But other drawing tables in the atelier are occupied by the Mundaneum’s plans. The same architectural germs inhabit our atmosphere”. One would therefore say that the unity between these two projects apparently so different from each other – and geographically so distant from each other – condensed in the atmosphere of the Atelier at Rue de Sèvres, similarly as some common principles most probably inhabited in the architect’s mind.
The exhibition Paris n’est pas Moscou intends to guide the observer through that dense atmosphere of Le Corbusier’s atelier during the design process of his projects for Moscow: Ville Radieuse, Centrosoyuz and Palace of Soviets. Between the mid twenties and the late thirties, from the Plan Voisin for Paris to the Murondins Houses, Le Corbusier works on more than sixty projects, through which he explores a wide variety of scales, programmes and techniques. His creative work branches out from a common stem, and results in works, whose diversity perhaps suggests, among its reasons, a collective authorship.»
“Le Corbusier. Paris n’est pas Moscou”, curated by Jorge Torres Cueco, Raúl Castellanos Gómez and Pedro Ponce Gregorio.
Valencia School of Architecture, 18 November 2015 – 1 February 2016 | Zaragoza School of Architecture, 14 March 2016 – 25 May 2016 | Valencia Association of Architects, 2 June 2016 – 20 July 2016 | Casa das Artes (Oporto), 18 November 2017 – 19 February 2018.
(Featured image by Alejandro García Faerna.)